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Spotify Hits Apple With Antitrust Complaint in Europe Over App Store

14 March, 2019, 14:14 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • Spotify CEO Daniel Ek

And after Warren, it is Spotify who is chanting the same slogan - Apple is trying to eliminate competition.

Spotify has filed a complaint with European regulators arguing that Apple limits choice and competition in its app store, giving its own music streaming service an unfair advantage over rivals. Spotify had 96 million paying subscribers at the last count in February, while Apple Music reportedly had 56 million subscribers at the end of 2018.

The case Ek lays out is a familiar story for anyone frustrated with the App Store, which is the only legit method for installing software on an iPhone.

Echoing complaints from other media companies, Spotify says Apple charges Spotify a 30% tax on purchases made through Apple's payment system. But, Spotify says, Apple won't allow it to advertise those cheaper subscriptions inside the iOS app.

Spotify began emailing customers in 2015 that they should cancel subscriptions purchased through Apple's App Store.

"All of these actions by Apple make it untenable for us as a competitor, and for us as a player in the global competitive ecosystem, to stand by and not take action", said Mr Gutierrez. "If we pay this tax, it would force us to artificially inflate the price of our Premium membership well above the price of Apple Music", writes Ek.

The main problem here is that Apple not just operates the App Store, but also the competitor to Spotify in the form of Apple Music.


Spotify ended support for Apple's in-app subscription payments system for its premium service in 2016.

Meanwhile, other developers have also complained about Apple's constantly evolving App Store guidelines, which feels shifting goalposts that the company changes on a whim, often to suit its own interests while claiming to do so on behalf of its users.

We aren't even allowed to tell you something as simple as how and where to upgrade to premium via the app. Apple uses compliance with their restrictions as a pretext to block our app updates - whether they are bug fixes or enhancements, making it challenging, and in some cases impossible, to bring you our latest and greatest innovations.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. "We should all be subject to the same fair set of rules and restrictions, including Apple Music".

Second, consumers should have a real choice of payment systems, and not be "locked in" or forced to use systems with discriminatory tariffs such as Apple's.

App stores should not be allowed to control the communications between services and users, including placing unfair restrictions on marketing and promotions that benefit consumers, he added. It's not something we ever have-or will-shy away from.

On its website about the issue, Spotify said Apple only imposes the 30 percent fee on some apps. We want the same fair rules for companies young and old, large and small.

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